The 322-87 House vote, in which 109 Republicans joined Democrats to override Trump's veto, leaves the defence bill's fate to the Republican-led Senate, where it will also have to gain two-thirds support to override the president's veto.

(FILES) In this file photo US President Donald Trump departs the White House in Washington, DC, on December 12, 2020.
(FILES) In this file photo US President Donald Trump departs the White House in Washington, DC, on December 12, 2020. (AFP)

The US House of Representatives has dealt a blow to President Donald Trump by rejecting his veto of a defence bill, setting the stage for the Senate to deliver a humiliating first veto override in the final days of his presidency.

The Democratic-controlled House voted 322 to 87 to override Trump's veto of the $740.5 billion defense bill, with 109 members of the president's own Republican Party siding with Democrats.

A similar motion will be introduced in the Republican-majority Senate, where it will also have to gain two-thirds support to override the president's veto.

In a statement released after the vote, Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi slammed Trump's veto as "reckless" and called on the president to "end his eleventh-hour campaign of chaos."

The House vote came a day after Trump caved to pressure from both Republicans and Democrats and reluctantly signed a $900 billion coronavirus relief and stimulus package that he had threatened to veto.

Trump's capitulation on the Covid-19 relief bill and the looming congressional veto override are the latest signs of his waning powers as he prepares to leave the White House on January 20.

The fiscal 2021 National Defense Authorization Act was passed this month by 335 votes to 78 in the House and by 84 to 13 in the Senate.

Trump said he blocked the legislation because he wanted it to overturn liability protections for social media companies unrelated to national security, and he opposed a provision to rename military bases named after generals who fought for the pro-slavery Confederacy during the Civil War.

Including the defense bill, Trump has vetoed nine bills during his four years in the White House. Congress has not previously mustered the votes needed to override any of his vetoes.

READ MORE: US Senate passes defence bill despite Trump's veto threat

Coronavirus relief bull

For a real estate tycoon who prides himself as a master negotiator, the past few days have been an exercise in humiliation.

Trump threatened for days not to sign the Covid-19 relief and spending bill that had been hammered out by his own treasury secretary and had received broad bipartisan support in Congress.

His surprise move risked shutting down the government from Tuesday and depriving millions of Americans of economic relief badly needed during the pandemic.

He finally backed down under bipartisan pressure and signed the bill on Sunday night at his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida, out of sight of television cameras.

But in an attempt to save face, Trump released a statement airing his grievances about the November 3 election and claiming that he had obtained a number of concessions on the relief bill.

Among Trump's demands was increasing direct relief payments to Americans from $600 to $2,000.

The House, in a 275 to 134 vote, approved a motion on Monday to increase the payments to $2,000, but it is likely to meet with resistance from Republicans in the Senate.

Independent Senator Bernie Sanders threatened late Tuesday to filibuster the veto override bill in the Senate if the upper house did not allow a vote on the extra $2,000 direct payments to Americans.

That would potentially delay the measure and throw extra pressure on the Republicans ahead of two key Senate run-offs in Georgia next month that could determine control of the chamber.

President-elect Joe Biden, asked by a reporter Monday if he favored raising the payouts to $2,000, replied, "Yes."

READ MORE: US House gives $500 million to Israel, only $600 per person in covid relief

'Stop the Insanity'

In a sign of his fading influence, the Rupert Murdoch-owned New York Post, one of Trump's most ardent supporters, published an editorial late Sunday telling him to "Stop the Insanity" and acknowledge he lost the election.

In a sign of his fading influence, the Rupert Murdoch-owned New York Post, one of Trump's most ardent supporters, published an editorial late Sunday telling him to "Stop the Insanity" and acknowledge he lost the election.

"Mr. President, it's time to end this dark charade," the newspaper said.

"We understand, Mr. President, that you're angry that you lost.

"But to continue down this road is ruinous," the Post said. "If you insist on spending your final days in office threatening to burn it all down, that will be how you are remembered.

"Not as a revolutionary, but as the anarchist holding the match."

READ MORE: Trump pardons 15, including GOP allies and Iraq massacre contractors

Source: TRTWorld and agencies